Here's a fun game... First, look up the most popular and critically-acclaimed books, movies, and music on Amazon. Click on "Customer Reviews," and sort them by "Lowest Rating First." Hilarity ensues! It's the Amazon.com Knee-Jerk Contrarian Game!
Post your own favorites in the comments! (Coming soon: The Slashdot.org Knee-Jerk Contrarian Game.)
July 14, 2004: In a weird coincidence, Justine Larbalestier came up with the same idea on her own weblog two days before this entry. Creepy.
July 29, 2004: Alan Taylor wrote a neat utility that lets you easily find the 10 lowest-ranked reviews, without even going to Amazon. Yay!
- "This is one of the worst albums I've ever bought. It's so boring and lifeless. Good to fall asleep to."
- "its boredom,nostalgia and scarcely concealed contempt make it the perfect background music for this narcissistic age of ours."
- "I found Mr. Davis' playing to be laughable at best. Finally, it's irritating; and confusing that so many people laud it."
- "If pretension, tedium, and self-indulgence are your idea of what should animate music, then this is the album and Miles Davis is the 'artist' for you."
The Beatles, "White Album"
- "Kindle for your campfire; better yet an apology from Apple Records for creating this toxic waste"
- "This CD looks good in a garbage can.....god awful, what were they thinking???"
- "This is, put simply, one of the worst albums I have ever listened to."
- "If you want to hear a peak in popular rock music listen to (for example) "Use Your Illusion I & II" by Guns N' Roses. These are the kind of albums that deserve all the praise the White Album gets."
Beach Boys, "Pet Sounds"
- "This is not the Beach Boys. It can't be. Why? No beach songs! I thought it was some kind of joke. All 'Pet Sounds' offers is the opportunity to hear Brian Wilson whine for forty minutes, backed by elevator music."
- "It's full of bland harmonizing by guys that could barely swim."
- "The lyrics consist of commonplace rhyming conversational prose, totally lacking in imagery, metaphor and anything else that separates verse from poetry."
Bob Dylan, "Highway 61 Revisited"
- "One big giant dud! Insane lyrics, horrible singing"
- "He set the precedent that doomed rock 'n roll to always being a semantic eunuch."
- "Most of the songs are as a rule decent enough, but can anyone really listen to the howling vocals for longer than a few minutes at a time?!"
- "Bob Dylan had to either have been completely tone deaf, or carried one of the largest egos on the planet not to let someone better sing his songs, or at least to take lessons."
John Coltrane, "A Love Supreme"
- "Coltrane's A Love Supreme is the most overhyped jazz album in history. It is music? Maybe. But I find it to be unlistenable, despite several efforts to find something good in it."
- "The first number is torture if you like melodic music. There's no connection between the phasing and the rhythm. Again, is this supposed to be clever?"
- "Nobody will care about the technical achievements of these guys in 100 years."
- "I think about Kenny G., for instance. His rythmic session is much more regular, whereas Coltrane's session seems sometimes to loose the beat."
- "I'm pretty sure I will enjoy it a lot more when Warner Bros finally gets around to releasing the colorized version, the way this movie needs to be seen - the world is not black and white, why should our movies be?"
- "Bergman's constant near nervous breakdown into weepiness or breathy asthma seems forced and adoleescent rather than the mental state of a mature woman."
- "I would like to have rated this 'video' zero-stars, but 1-star is as bad as it can be rated."
- "This movie is horrible! It is so boring and unoriginal that I can't stand it."
The Wizard of Oz
- "If you're a fan of hammy acting and schmaltzy stories, this movie is for you."
- "Also the color -- what is this fixation on color in that period? Tone things down, please."
- "For one thing, I don't like to watch things with witches in them, especially if one of them is portrayed as a 'good witch' - that's an oxymoron I can't reconcile with."
- "Well, maybe in 1939 it was great, put today in 2001 this film is just toooooooooo outdated and hokey."
- "The only good thing about Citizen Kane is that it will put you to sleep faster than any film."
- "Please stop the hype on Citizen Kane. It doesn't work. It's like you are trying to convince people that poop smells good."
- "Citizen Kane is a hymn to all filmmakers who have ever tried to create something artistic and meaningful and failed miserably every step of the way."
- "It was just a bad attempt at a boring story about newspaper tycoon. It's one of the worst movies I have ever seen."
The Shawshank Redemption
- "This paean to middle-aged scofflaws, attempts to persuade the viewer to side with rapists, thieves, and murderers."
- "That pretty much sums up the plot of Shawshank, nothing but a formula picture that you have seen before."
- "It's a shame that a briliiant actor and director had to fall victum to the use of vile language when it was proven by the television version that it was completely unnecessary to the impact and story line."
- "And finally ... what kind of ending is it where two dudes are together on a beach."
- "It's a boring hype, with not enough action."
- "'The Godfather' has an ugly consciousness and a mean spirit. I see no justification for it, thoroughly disliked it, and have tried to forget it."
- "This movie was so violent I couldn't believe it!"
- "Pretentious intellectual self-absorption"
- "Most of the book strikes me as an attempt by the author to show how very clever he was with word play and analogy and practically every other literary devise under the sun."
- "For all the great style modern authors may use, they are just using it to cover up a total lack of substance."
- "Life is too short to waste your time on this crap!"
- "Ulysses is a hardcover bounded knife in the face."
F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"
- "It was poorly structured, the story is unclear and it is not very memorable."
- "Anyone who is an ancestor to that worthless excuse of an American novelist should be offered sincere consoling and extreme sympathies."
- "The love story was predictable and the characters were obnoxious."
- "It's just so haphazard and bad that people mistake it for being good."
J.D. Salinger, "Catcher in the Rye"
- "A dull, pendantic book about a dull, pedantic hypocrite."
- "This book was linked with the murders of John Lennon, and actress Rebecca Schaeffer. How could this book be around, when so many nutcases use it for such things?"
- "Salinger is the real phony here."
- "I find it as pointless as the day i read it. You would be much better off reading a nice Grisham, actually..."
Kurt Vonnegut, "Slaughterhouse Five"
- "Vonnegut is no better or worse than Daniele Steele!"
- "The novel is written in a childish absurdist style that becomes wearisome very quickly."
- "I read it, but I literally have no idea what this book is about. And I'm not reading it again to find out either."
- "A tangled mess of disjointed scenes and uninspiring ramblings."